Sunday, December 27, 2009

I don't expect anyone to stumble across this journal, and I'm not putting this out there for anyone else. I need a place to vent, ramble incoherently, and explore the origins of my thoughts and feelings. I'm creating this space as a gift to myself.

Recovery is a bitch. Sometimes it feels like I'm never going to get to a point in my life when I'm free of this emotional weight. We recently discovered the cause of all my issues in therapy. I was born six weeks early, and 25 years ago in England, healthcare wasn't quite as advanced as today. My mum was also a nanny, and had learned all about premature babies. So, when I was born, she was convinced I was going to die, especially when they had to move me into the ICU because of jaundice. For the two weeks I was in the hospital, she did not bond with me.

Two weeks is all it took to leave me with intense abandonment issues that I didn't even realize I had until a couple of months ago in therapy. Two weeks is all it took for me to learn that food is love, leaving me with low self-esteem, food compulsion issues, and bulimic patterns when I feel like everything is out of control.

Two little weeks fucked up my whole life. I didn't even have a chance from the beginning. And it makes me so sad and so angry at the same time. I'm sad because I think about how scared my mum must have been as a young new mother, knowing too much about the horrors of premature babies. I'm sad to think of myself as a helpless 5-lb baby, kept alive by tubes and wires, with the only human interaction I received being fed every two hours. To be this tiny, helpless girl with no one to hold me and want me and love me. To have no one believing I would actually live.

And I'm angry because I didn't deserve this. I did nothing wrong, and yet I've had to live for 25 years with all these insecurities, fucking up every relationship - plutonic and romantic - I've ever had. I'm angry because I went through all these dark moments, not knowing why I felt like I did or acted like I did, not knowing that the first two weeks of my life were the cause of everything. I'm angry at all the punishment I've inflicted on my body because it was the only way I ever learned to deal with my problems. I'm angry at myself for all the abusive relationships I didn't have the courage to leave, because the thought of being alone was so much worse than physical and/or emotional pain. I'm angry at myself for bottling everything up instead of asking for help, for fear of being seen as weak. I'm angry for all the self-doubt and self-hatred I've felt over the years, for belittling my own accomplishments and believing that because I accomplished them, they weren't things worth accomplishing anyway. I'm angry for letting someone I loved rape me, and even worse, to pretend that it wasn't rape at all. And I'm angry for the times when I thought I was in recovery of my eating disorder, but I was still just as caught up in my compulsions, mistaking restrictive diets and obsessions with exercise as a healthy frame of mind.

And now I know what caused this whole mess I've been trying to live with and overcome. And I should feel relief, but knowing doesn't make it any easier. I still feel like I'm a crazy person. I get ridiculously upset at Saxon visiting his parents in South Carolina for a week, because I feel like the little girl that's being abandoned. I know he's coming back home soon, but I'm still so afraid that he won't. I'm scared to share half of my emotions with him because I don't want to scare him off with all my craziness. I get attached so easily, and then I'm holding on for dear life, as if that person walking out would be the end of the world. How can I not get attached when I'm receiving attention, affection, and incredible sex? I long for moments of intimacy where there's nothing else in the world but the two of us. My inner child feels loved, wanted, needed, and safe then. It's just me filling that void in one more way.

I don't want to lose my intensity. But I also can't keep living the same way. My therapist gave me a new mantra: "living in shades of gray". I have to drop the all-or-nothing attitude, and learn to enjoy the subtleties of moderation. I've been practicing moderation, not always successfully, over the last couple of months. I'm avoiding the usual triggers for my compulsions - following a specific exercise plan, cutting out/avoiding certain foods, especially sweets, and setting unrealistic goals for myself. I'm finally able to keep a jar of peanut butter in the house without eating the whole thing in 2 days straight. I don't say I need to workout everyday. Instead, I know that 30-60 mins of exercise 4-5 times a week is healthy, and if I do feel like working out, I'll decide that day what workout I would like to do, whether it be high-intensity cardio, intervals on the elliptical, running outside, or strength training. I find having a plan just causes me stress, anxiety, and obsession, so I'm learning to trust my instincts. My career is the only exception to this rule because I want to be financially successful this year, and that does take a little planning.

I'm telling myself to back-off on my new relationship, and just enjoy it for what it is. As my therapist told me, boys come and go. I don't need to rely on them to be my lifesaver. So, I'm just going to enjoy the time I get to spend with Saxon and revel in the fact that I love sex for the first time in years, and whatever happens, happens. There are no expectations for a long-term relationship, marriage, kids, whatever.

Although my maternal instincts are kicking into overdrive at the moment. I remember wanting kids when I was young, but since I was a teenager, I've always said I don't want kids. Didn't think I'd change my mind. But now I can't stop thinking about having one. Part of that comes with being in a sane healthy relationship, my first one of that kind. I've never been with someone that would have been great father material until now. And part of it comes with the recent revelations about my own birth. I can't go back in time and fix those two weeks of abandonment, so I want to give to someone else what wasn't given to me.

I know that one day I will fill that void. One day I will accept everything I've been through. And one day, I won't be afraid of being alone, of being abandoned and unloved and unneeded. Until then, I'm going through a grieving process. I'm grieving for the innocent, carefree childhood I'll never have. I'm grieving for everytime I put someone else's needs ahead of my own, and thought that was the only way to feel truly happy. I'm grieving for the little girl that was abandoned. And I'm grieving for all the pain I've caused myself. I'm slowly letting go of all the pain so I can let the happiness in.

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